Reprinted with permission.
This is by Rabbi Merrill Shapiro
The story goes that three frogs were sitting on a lily pad when one decided to jump off to cool herself off in the refreshing waters in the pond. At that point, how many frogs were sitting on the lily pad?
This is a frequently told story by former Mayor of Palm Coast, Jon Netts. A long time educator in Bergen County, New Jersey, Netts would use this story to illustrate an important point.
So….what’s the answer?
Netts, with his charming smile and sparkling eyes would be happy to tell you.
The answer is three!! Were you fooled? Or, did you see where this was headed from the start?
Making a decision to do something just isn’t the same as getting it done! We all, at some time or another, make a decision to do something, but never quite follow through, never quite turn our decision into a reality.
Sometimes we decide that we’re going to speak out about the injustices sustained by non-Christians every time a Jacksonville City Council invocation includes the name of Jesus. But do we follow through? Do we jump into the cool, refreshing water or does a body at rest tend to stay at rest? Think about the non-Christian children who attend those meetings. Do they deserve to have their “leaders” let them know they are only second-class citizens because of their heartfelt beliefs?
Sometimes we decide that we need to weigh-in on laws that discriminate on the basis of religious beliefs. Certainly while you are reading this, our Muslim sisters and brothers would like to see us step up and do something. But, we too often find ourselves just sitting on the lily pad. The inertia in our bones and hearts allows an unconstitutional and downright un-American practice of not permitting Muslim immigrants access to our borders, to become rooted.
After all, the only thing evil needs to triumph is my silence and yours!
Excerpts from the article:
Public reaction to Gobitis v. Minersville School District bordered on hysteria ….. Some vigilantes interpreted the Supreme Court’s decision as a signal that Jehovah’s Witnesses were traitors who might be linked to a network of Nazi spies and saboteurs. In Imperial, a town outside Pittsburgh, a mob descended on a small group of Witnesses and pummeled them mercilessly. By the end of the year, the American Civil Liberties Union estimated that 1,500 Witnesses had been assaulted in 335 separate attacks. In the wake of all the violence against Witnesses, three Supreme Court justices—William O. Douglas, Frank Murphy and Hugo Black—publicly signaled in a separate case that they thought Gobitis had been “wrongly decided.” When Barnette reached the Supreme Court in 1943, Harlan Stone, the lone dissenter in Gobitis, had risen to chief justice. The facts of the two cases mirrored each other, but the outcome differed dramatically. Most important, in ruling that Witness children could not be forced to recite the pledge. The “very purpose” of the Bill of Rights, wrote Justice Robert Jackson, was to protect some issues from the majority rule of politics. “One’s right to life, liberty and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, may not be submitted to vote….Fundamental rights depend on the outcome of no elections.”
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Here is the “free exercise thereof” explained:
I am not sure it’s that simple BUT it is a cute photo. How do we reconcile it when the religious views clash?
Yet so natural to mankind is intolerance in whatever they really care about, that religious freedom has hardly anywhere been practically realized, except where religious indifference, which dislikes to have its peace disturbed by theological quarrels, has added its weight to the scale. In the minds of almost all religious persons, even in the most tolerant countries, the duty of toleration is admitted with tacit reserves. One person will bear with dissent in matters of church government, but not of dogma; another can tolerate everybody, short of a Papist or an Unitarian; another, every one who believes in revealed religion; a few extend their charity a little further, but stop at the belief in a God and in a future state. Wherever the sentiment of the majority is still genuine and intense, it is found to have abated little of its claim to be obeyed.
You can find the complete essay at the link: http://www.constitution.org/jsm/liberty.htm